The final phase of the Hampton–Rochester–La Crosse transmission project was energized on Sept. 16, CapX2020 said on Sept. 26.
The line runs between the Hampton substation near Hampton, Minn., the North Rochester substation north of Pine Island, Minn., and the Briggs Road substation north of La Crosse, Wis., CapX2020 said.
The project – which is a 156-mile link, represents a $485m investment, and involves 345/161-kV transmission lines – is jointly owned by Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL), Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Rochester Public Utilities and WPPI Energy.
CapX2020 said that it has now invested $1.85bn in completing four high voltage transmission line projects totaling almost 725 miles across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
A fifth project in eastern South Dakota – the Big Stone South–Brookings County project – is scheduled for completion in 2017, CapX2020 said. According to the CapX2020 website, that project is an approximately 70-mile, 345-kV transmission line that is being built between a new Big Stone South substation near Big Stone City, S.D., and the Brookings County substation near Brookings, S.D. Xcel and Otter Tail Power Company are joint owners of the project, with Xcel Energy being the development manager, according to the website.
“The transmission infrastructure projects are addressing local reliability needs and opening up new paths for solar and wind energy across the upper Midwest, helping to meet state renewable energy standards, including Minnesota’s 25 percent by 2025 mandate (30 percent by 2020 for Xcel Energy),” CapX2020 said in its statement.
CapX2020 also noted that at a Sept. 22 dedication event for the Hampton–Rochester–La Crosse project, Xcel officials reviewed new drone technology that is being tested to inspect transmission lines and other utility infrastructure. A team from Flot Systems presented the technology, including the high-definition views that the systems can provide, CapX2020 said.